THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Rating

Sex:

Bullying/Violence:

Suspense/Horror:

Language:

There is a lot of cursing in this novel. I cringed quite a bit at the main character's language.

Alcohol/Drugs:

Alternative Lifestyle/LGBT:

Naughty Little Tidbits: Disturbing Behaviour, Disrespect Rules/Laws

Review

Writing Style:

Plot:

Main Characters:

Overall:

Would I recommend this book for...
Teenagers?No
Adults?Yes

Comments: I've taken some time to sit back and think about this book before writing a review, because I suspect that my opinion is not going to be the most popular. I think the Hate U Give is a very important book that shares insight into what it's like to grow up split between a predominantly black neighborhood versus a predominantly white school. It helps those of us who didn't grow up in this environment get a feel for how life is both similar and different from our own experience. What I found lacking was a deeper understanding of what might have contributed to the officer shooting the victim in this case. From my reading of the novel it appeared that the only motivation was that they were black and that the white officer was a murderer pure and simple. I think it's far more complicated than that. I can't help but wonder what kind of effect it would have on someone to patrol a neighborhood where shootings happen on a daily basis. He had been on the force for enough time that it is likely that he has been shot at, and may have seen his fellow officers shot at or even killed. I imagine that working in that environment would create a trauma/fear response in someone over time. By the time he's in this particular situation he's seeing the situation differently than those of us looking in from the outside. Since this perspective was left out of the novel it felt somewhat one dimensional. Including this perspective could have lead to a deeper discussion on how to reduce these types of incidents. Police departments need to recognize the psychological toll that working in high stress environments have on officers, and utilize trauma informed interventions to prevent situations like this one from occurring. Overall, it is a solid read, but be aware that there's quite a bit of profanity in the novel.

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